Riverside Smithfield Hospital Talking Points

Better Access to Care

  • The Federal Government has designated Isle of Wight County as a Medically Underserved Area and Health Practitioner Shortage Area – meaning there is a lack of available medical services in our county based on factors including population size, income and travel time to nearby medical facilities.
  • The Virginia State Medical Facilities Plan, which is a guideline established by the state health department, indicates that inpatient hospital services be accessible within a 30 minute drive. We know this is not the case for many residents.
  • Travel to rural locations, heavy traffic and crossing the James River Bridge make for long travel times during medical emergencies

Need for a Local Provider

  • In the past 2 years, over 6,000 patients traveled from the proposed hospital’s service area to Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News. More than half of those patients were emergency room patients. Imagine if Riverside Smithfield Hospital was available for these patients and they were able to receive the vital care they needed in a fraction of the time.
  • Isle of Wight County, Surry County and the City of Suffolk are expecting a 13% growth in population by 2030. There are over 4,200 new multi-family and single-family residential units under development in Isle of Wight County. There is not the hospital capacity to meet this growing demand.
  • Nearly 20% of the population in Isle of Wight and Surry County is 65 years of age or older – the highest utilizers of health care services in terms of expenditure.
  • COVID-19 has taught us the value of being prepared. Local hospitals are essential to community safety and well-being.


  • There is absolutely no question that competition in Planning District 20 (Southampton, Isle of Wight, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Franklin) is limited.
  • Sentara currently owns 65% of licensed inpatient acute care hospital beds in PD20 and Bon Secours owns 21%. Chesapeake Regional Healthcare owns the remaining 14%. This lack of competition leads to loss of innovation, has a negative impact on wages, and potentially increases healthcare prices and insurance premiums.
  • Riverside Smithfield Hospital will offer patients a new health system choice for hospital services.
  • COPN applications are put in place to foster competition – denying Riverside’s application would have the complete opposite effect.

Charity Care

  • Riverside is a not-for-profit health system whose mission is “to care for others as we would care for those we love”
  • Riverside has a long history of providing charitable care programs and supporting free clinics in the communities they serve. This is essential to expanding access to care to those who otherwise would not be able to afford it.
  • Many residents in Isle of Wight and neighboring counties benefit from these programs and Riverside Smithfield Hospital would bring these charitable care benefits local.

Economic Benefits

  • The project is a $100 million project that will create hundreds of jobs for professional and support staff.
  • In January of 2020, local officials released the Isle of Wight Comprehensive Economic Development plan. This plan noted that 60% of workers commute outside of the county for employment and there was a 16% drop in employment within the county between 2005 and 2015. This hospital will bring jobs back to Isle of Wight County and boost the local economy.
  • According to a 2018 study, Riverside’s economic impact on the Middle Peninsula Market, a market similar to Isle of Wight, Smithfield and Surry, totaled nearly $87 million in 2017.